SIPTU activists in the Education Sector held a protest outside the Dáil this afternoon (Wednesday, 12th April) to highlight the spread of precarious work practices in the Third Level Education Sector and call for the Government to take action on the issue. During the protest several TDs and Senators discussed their concerns with activists. Among the politicians who met with the SIPTU activists were Joan Burton, Micheál Martin, Catherine Murphy, Ivana Bacik, Brid Smith, Maurice Quinlivan, Thomas Byrne, Louise O’Reilly and Mick Barry. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Karl Byrne, said: “Our members in the Education Sector are calling for an ending to precarious work practices in Third Level Education institutions through increasing funding, fully implementing the recommendations of the Cush Report on employment practices for lecturers and conducting a similar report on the conditions of non-academic staff.” He added: “Irish society and the economy is built upon a strong third level education sector. In recent years, the sector has been adversely affected by a severe lack of public expenditure and investment as well as cutbacks, both of which have incentivised the spread of precarious work practices. “If something isn’t done now the lack of adequate funding and investment into the sector will exacerbate these poor employment practices over the next few years as demand for Higher Education places rises due to demographics.” SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, John King, said: “The SIPTU Education Sector has written, on two occasions, to the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, requesting a meeting to discuss the issue of precarious employment practices in third level institutions. While receipt of this correspondence has been acknowledged, no invitation to a meeting has been forthcoming. “The workers are calling on Minister Bruton, to begin a meaningful engagement with them and their union representatives on ending precarious work practices in our Third Level institutions.”